iPhone App Review: Word Search Plus

iPhone App Review: Word Search Plus

April 19th, 2011 by

Word search puzzles are a curious marriage between a crossword puzzle (sans clues) and alphabet soup. Toss a bunch of seemingly random letters into a grid, give the player a list of words to find, and let the cross-eyed frustration begin.

Word Search Plus lets you do an infinite (in their words) number of puzzles in several difficulty levels, using words from 23 categories such as: US cities, Greek mythology, world cities, and actors.

Plus, you know, 19 more. The point is that this is not your typical Sunday-morning word search with words like “meatball” and “table”. Some of the words in this game are barely pronounceable, which definitely makes for a challenging game. You can even select which categories you want if, say, “Cars” aren’t your thing.

How It Works

The gameplay itself is easy and intuitive: you tap and drag from the start of a word to the end, then release. If it’s on the list, then you get credit for it. A display in the upper corner of the screen shows the word you’re creating as your drag your finger. Games are timed and statistics are tracked, so there’s a health dose of stress involved as your try and keep your puzzle-solving average down. You can even see the definitions of many of the words that you have found, once the puzzle is completed.

There are five difficulty levels, with the last two unlocked only once you’ve completed games from the third level five times and maintained an average below 90 seconds. In the last two levels of difficulty you aren’t even given a list of words to choose from. In level four you can select and get credit for any word that’s in the game’s dictionary. In level five it’s even worse: there is a secret list of words that you can’t see, but must find words from. Brutal.

Pros And Cons

Word Search Plus is a very attractive game graphically, allowing you to choose between two different color styles that are both easy on the eyes. The dragging and selecting is flawless, and even little things like the appearance of the settings screens have been done well. Little graphical touches like the bottom row of buttons in the game itself are appreciated: they’re attractive buttons that are clear in their use, and are set against a nice wood-grained background.

There aren’t really any drawbacks to the game itself, unless you aren’t a fan of word-search puzzles to begin with. One thing that would be nice to have is the ability to add your own words to the dictionary, so that users can create their own custom sets of words to search for (perhaps even allow a smaller grid so that users can have a kid-friendly version of the game for the toddlers).

I would also like to be able to play music from the iPod app while doing a word search. There doesn’t seem to be any good reason to allow the app lock out other music sources, since it doesn’t have any music of its own.

Overall

All in all, Word Search Plus is a great little word search game that has taken the standard formula and added some nice touches and customization options. There aren’t any bombs, crystals, annoyed birds, or skeletons in this tile game, which makes for a nice change from the rest of the top-sellers on the App Store now. Take a break from Angry Puzzle Bird Tycoon Quest Ville and play a word search game this afternoon.

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